Hunterdon’s historic Main streets, adorned for the holidays, welcome visitors for seasonal shopping

Hunterdon County’s historic Main Streets are dotted with specialty shops ready to welcome customers and visitors this holiday season. Boutiques, art galleries, artisan studios, antique markets, book stores, and specialty food markets are part of the offerings found in the historic towns of Clinton, Flemington, Frenchtown, and Lambertville, High Bridge, Milford, and Stockton.

HunterdonMainStreets.com is an online directory of merchants, restaurants, events, and activities in these historic downtowns. A festive backdrop for shopping and strolling, Hunterdon’s Main Streets glow with holiday lights, decorated picture windows, lamp posts adorned with wreaths and bows, Christmas trees, menorahs and dreidels.

Holiday events, although scaled back this year, are unique traditions in each community and add to the festive atmosphere.

“Hunterdon County is home to many vibrant downtowns which have traditionally served as the focal point for celebrating the holiday season in the community,” explained Matt Holt, the Hunterdon County Freeholder Board Liaison for Economic Development.

“This year, we invite local residents to rediscover Hunterdon’s Main Streets, shop locally whenever possible, and support the merchants and business owners who invest in our beautiful small towns. Expect friendly service and an enjoyable, safe shopping experience,” Holt added.

Clinton

A Clinton tradition, the Festival of Trees features decorated trees placed among the historic buildings on the grounds of the iconic Red Mill Museum. It is open Saturdays and Sundays, through Dec. 20 from noon to 6 p.m

Red Mill Museum's Festival of Christmas Trees

The annual 2020 Red Mill Museum’s Festival of Christmas Trees is running on weekends through Dec. 20.Rich Maxwell | for NJ Advance Media

Candle Light Night begins at dusk on Thursday Dec. 17, and visitors can stroll and shop along luminary lined streets. Santa’s workshop, located on the terrace of the Hunterdon Art Museum, will be open during the holiday shopping season. “This time of year, Clinton is absolutely magical, it’s almost like you are transported back in time. All the trees are lit-it’s so beautiful. It’s a special place to be for the holiday season,” said Carol Beder, owner of Heart Strings.

Clinton has a variety of shops for inspired gift-giving including Bearpaw Leather, 39 Mine on Main, Dickens Jewelers, Made to Order, Beyond Bijoux, Christine’s Gift and Bath Boutique, Balic of Clinton and relative newcomer Chameleon Blue, which showcases fair trade, handcrafted, and sustainable products. For event information and complete listing of shops and restaurants, VisitClintonNJ.com.

Lambertville

Lambertville gets dressed up for the holidays with “festive lights and inspired window displays that bring out the beauty of the Victorian architecture.”

Art galleries, custom jewelers, antique emporiums, artisan studios, vintage clothing, on-trend boutiques, home décor, and gourmet foods can all be found in Lambertville.

Nestled in a former Five and Dime store at 42 North Union St., A Mano Galleries is known for its collection of crafts including jewelry, pottery and hand-painted furniture. The People’s Store Antiques and Design Center, featuring 50 antique dealers and working artist studios, occupies a landmark 1839 building located at 28 North Union St. Nearby, Panoply Books offers rare and out-of-print quality used books,vinyl records, art, and textiles. Located just outside of town at 1874 River Road in Lambertville, Big Bear Gear opened in June. Housed in a big red barn, alongside the Delaware River, Big Bear Gear sells hiking,camping, fishing, and climbing gear, outerwear, footwear and apparel for the outdoor enthusiasts on your list. For a complete listing of shops and restaurants, visit Lambertville.org.

Flemington

”We are so excited to continue the Flemington tradition of Thursday Night Holiday Lights with a new walk-through Winter Light Wonderland in historic Turntable Junction,” said Robin Lapidus, executive director of the Flemington Community Partnership.

“To maintain social distancing, timed tickets will be issued. This event is free to the community and we look forward to highlighting the charm of shopping and strolling through historic Flemington,” she added.

The event will take place on Thursdays, Dec. 3, 10, and 17 from 5 to 8 p.m, and a holiday cocktail tent will be open for adults. On Saturdays, Dec. 5, 12, 19, Santa will visit Stangl Factory and Main Street, and large, colorful inflatable penguins will be set up as “photo stops” throughout Main Street. Gifts for fans of art and artisans can be found on Stangl Road, home to Kev Von Holt Gallery, Kissimmee River Pottery, N’Joy Yourself and the Stangl Factory Farmer’s Market. During the holiday season the market doubles in size with baked goods, homemade jams, local honey, and artisan goods. Located at 50 Stangl Road, the December market hours are Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Dec. 20.

Shopping destinations in Flemington include Attachments Jewelry, Sage Boutique, Barkley’s Marketplace, Camp Flemington Antiques, 39 Mine Boutique, Act 2 Books, The Mine –Antiques and Artisans, Saunders Jewelers, Comic Fusion, and The Shoppes at Flemington. For event information and a complete listing of shops and restaurants, visit LoveFlemington.com.

Frenchtown

The Junto Emporium is a masculine boutique featuring new, previously owned and vintage apparel, footwear and accessories. Their new collections are either locally, sustainably or small batch made.

Nestled in a row of colorfully-painted Victorian structures, Gather is a plant and florist shop located at 8 Race St. in Frenchtown. Other destinations in Frenchtown include Lord Ivy, and The Frenchtown Book Garden as well as cafes and restaurants including The Frenchtown Café, Lovin’ Oven, and The National Hotel. For more information, visit LoveFrenchtown.org.

Stockton

Stockton Market is a community market offering a variety of locally sourced goods: produce, pasture-raised meats, handmade chocolates, artisan baked goods, flowers and dried spices. The market is brimming with holiday goods including handmade gifts and seasonal topiaries. The market offerings are complimented by an array of food stalls including BBQ 434, D’Town Dumpling, Maria’s Cocinaand Market Pizza. Located at 19 Bridge Street in Stockton, the market is open Wednesday to Sunday. Holiday hours may vary.

Small Town Gems

Chocolate in the Oven is located at 53 Bridge St., the main street in Milford. Small batch bakery items made on premises include cheesecake, pies, Italian pastries, custom cakes, bread, and gingerbread cookies. Cookie decorating kits include a dozen butter cut-out cookies, sprinkles and candy, and buttercream piping bags.

This hamlet is also home to Riverside Treasures, and the historic Ship Inn Brewery. The Salty Lemon Apothecary makes botanical soaps, soy candles, and skin care products using all-natural ingredients in the kitchen of their new shop at 7 McDonald St. in High Bridge.

The HunterdonMainStreets.com initiative was launched earlier this year by the Hunterdon County Tourism Partnership and funded by the county’s Office of Economic Development. Individuals can sign up to receive updates and a newsletter on the website, or stay up to date with the Hunterdon Main Streets by following its Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. The organization also promotes Hunterdon579trail.com, which highlights Hunterdon’s farms, farm markets and vineyards.

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